An abusive boyfriend strangled both his partner and a teenage girl he had a one night stand with for sexual kicks, a court heard this week.
Neil Scott-O’Connor, 23, is also accused of threatening to kill his 29-year-old partner and her toddler son as well as harassing and assaulting her.
The household appliance engineer denies nine charges, six against his ex-partner and three against the 17-year-old girl.
Brighton Crown Court heard yesterday that the police investigation began after the girl had been on a “first date from hell” with Scott-O’Connor last December.
Prosecuting, Richard Hearnden told the jury: “Three Sundays before Christmas, a 17-year-old girl walked into a leisure centre in Crawley, where her friend worked. She was in a state of distress. Her friend saw she was injured. The injuries were obvious.
“She asked what had happened. And the girl told her friend that she had just been through a terrifying ordeal. It sounded like she had been on the first-date from hell.
“It had taken a sinister turn that night when the defendant tried strangle her as part of attaining greater sexual pleasure for himself. ”
The girl went to the police and told them during sex, Scott-O’Connor had put his hand around her neck and pushed really hard, using the weight of his body. She told him to stop, but he said more than once: “I know what I’m doing”.
Mr Hearden said: “She remembered her vision getting fuzzy and ringing noises in her ears. She struggled, but the pressure on her prevented her getting away. She tried to prise his hand to get it off her neck, but in vain. She was gasping for breath.”
Scott-O’Connor then stopped and re-dressed, while talking to her about rape fantasies. He then scratched and bit her, then went for her neck again, putting one hand on her throat and the other over her mouth.
Mr Hearden said: “She thought she was going to die. . . The whole thing sounds utterly horrific.”
She also told police that before sex, the defendant had shown her his arsenal of weapons, and a horror film called I Spit on Your Grave featuring multiple rapes and a man hanged during a sex game.
Scott-O’Connor was arrested at his home in Partridge Green the same day. He was released on police bail, and picked up by his partner, a 29-year-old woman from Brighton.
Just weeks later, after breaking down and telling her family about their abusive relationship, she too went to the police – and told them about how he strangled her during sex.
Mr Hearnden said: “It is the similarity of these unusual allegations, made by two women who know nothing of each other, against the same man that makes the case against the defendant a strong one.”
The court heard that Scott-O’Connor had met the 29-year-old in the summer of 2019 through work.
Mr Hearnden said: “The victim says that during acts of sexual intercourse with Neil, especially in the early days of the relationship, he would put his hands round her throat and apply pressure.
“She couldn’t breathe. He wanted do this until she passed out, although he doesn’t appear to have succeeded. It was one of his fantasies, she said.”
Scott-O’Connor initially denied this at police interview, but now maintains he offered “mild strangulation” with her consent.
The jury heard that he also covered her in love bites on her neck, face, shoulders and arms, which Mr Hearden said effectively tagged her or marked his ownership of her.
The marks meant she couldn’t take her two-year-old son swimming or meet clients face to face anymore, effectively isolating her.
The jury were shown a Facebook post from 29 September, 2018 of the pair of them in front of Chilli Pickle in Jubilee Square, which the woman had posted with the caption: “Actually am so in love with this man ♥ he completes my world. Always making me laugh and putting up with my shit, wouldn’t change him for anything (sorry babe😃 ).”
Mr Hearnden said: “In the experience of the courts, it is a feature of abusive relationships that the abused party forgives and tries to forget about the transgressions of her (or his) abuser very quickly. Perhaps it is a sense of self-preservation?
“On the other hand, perhaps one of the consequences of the abuse is that the victim actually believes it is they who is in the wrong?
“For 12 hours before that status update was posted, the defendant violently assaulted his new girlfriend. And yet, here she was the next day, publicly declaring her love and adoration of him. As ever, there is more to a social media post than meets the eye.”
The assault had taken place the previous evening after Scott-O’Connor had got into a fight with a group of four men he accused his girlfriend of flirting with in the bar at Myhotel.
When they returned to her car, he hit her head with the car door and then jumped on her, bringing her to the ground. At around this time, he was also bombarding her with WhatsApp messages accusing her of lying and threatening suicide.
She eventually apologised to him, and posted the Facebook declaration of her love for him.
About a month later, on or about 30 October, they were at her home in Brighton when an argument about a woman she had discovered he was cheating on her with flared up.
The jury heard he smashed a wine glass on her before punching her in the head and kicking her. She later took photos of the bruising, but he deleted them.
He also told her that he had attacked the other woman, saying he had ‘popped her face out’. He told her of the arsenal of weapons he had bought from Amazon – legally – including axes, knives, an icepick and a gun.
Mr Heardon said: “As for the icepick, he told her it could cut through ice like a knife through butter. ‘Imagine’, he added, ‘what it could do
to your skull?’ This was threatening and intimidating behaviour. It could not have made her feel safe.”
Finally, at Christmas she told her father’s new girlfriend what had happened, and then her father and her mother, but it was only on the 14 January that she told the police.
The final straw was a string of death threats he made against her and her young son, saying he wanted to throw them in a lake, burn down her house, cut the brake lines on her car shoot them or bury them alive.
Two alternative charges for the choking have been put to the jury for each victim – one of attempting to choke for the purposes of sexual assault, and one of assault.
As well as those four charges, he is accused of two counts of assault against his partner, one of harassing his partner, one of threatening to kill her and her son, and one of assaulting the girl.
He denies all nine charges. The trial continues.